Cupboard Sheep

Cupboard Sheep

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A Make Do Story

My plan to get all up to date with life here in the cottage went a little bit astray  . . . . we took ourselves off camping last week so what with all the preparation for a week away I didn't get time to do any more blog posts before the month of July ended.  Into July and the wonder tablets were still working and it seemed as if my luck was changing for the better, read on and you will find out why.

Early last year, my dear friend Janet bought the most fabulous make do chair from Pat of Olde Bittersweet Farm.  I was absolutely green with envy!!!  I had admired these beautiful chairs for months and I knew that I would never be able to own one of Pat's gorgeous chairs, living in the UK the shipping costs alone would require me to take a second mortgage out on our home and whilst Rob never bats an eyelid over what I buy, I do think he would have something to say over the cost of shipping a chair from America to the UK!  So I admired the pictures that Janet sent me and once in a while I would sit looking at them and dream that one day, I may just be lucky enough to get my grubby prim mitts on one.

Fast forward 12 months and whilst browsing through picture trail sites I came across Pat's and I noticed a couple of albums with a tutorial, but this was not just any tutorial, oh no no no no no, this one was called "let's make a make do"!!!  I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT, here were complete instructions and detailed photographs showing how to make a rush seat ladder back chair into a make do chair.  Now I might seem a little paranoid here, and this just shows how desperate I was to own a make do, in fear that the album may be deleted before I had chance to make a chair, I sat and printed every single page off!!  Over 130 sheets came tumbling out of my printer and then I got to thinking, what if I had missed printing a page and the instructions were incomplete????? so I got Beth to check the printouts with the instructions in Pat's album . . I think this gives you the general idea how badly I wanted a make do chair.
Now I had the full colour instructions but no chair.  I patiently waited and waited for just the right chair to come along.  I searched Ebay on a weekly basis as well as checking out local antique shops and house clearance stores.  Eventually my patience paid off and I became the very proud owner of an antique English oak ladder back chair, which also happened to be the perfect height to sit in the spot I had earmarked.  Next came the fabric choice.  The chair was to go in my bedroom and I wanted it to match in with the bedding and window dressing which had all come from Family Heirloom Weavers.  An email to Janet soon got it sorted and the fabric order was placed.  I again patiently waited for the fabric to be wove, then shipped to Janet who in turn shipped it onto me.  Two weeks later I had all the raw materials to start the project and had learnt many lessons in how to be patient!

The first stage was to prepare the ladder back for upholstering, now this was Rob's department as I am useless with a saw, hammer and nails!  This is how the chair looked after Rob had followed the first set of instructions, (the picture is taken in my workroom which also doubles up as a utility room)

view from one side

and the other side.

Next came the wadding, this was my department,

it took a bit of doing,

but eventually I had all the wood that Rob had attached covered.

Not only was the chair covered in it, but I was too, the next chair I make remind me not to wear black!

Finally I had to cover the wadding with the fabric.  I followed Pat's perfect instructions until I had the wadding fully covered and this is the end result.

The fabric is a perfect match against the bedroom window dressing,

I am chuffed to bits with how it has turned out,

I wake up every morning, see the chair and can't believe that I now actually own a make do!

There was enough fabric left over to make some new window dressings for the kitchen plus an undersink curtain.  I took inspiration for the design from a house featured in Mercantile Gatherings magazine, but I did make the side tails longer than what was featured.  The kitchen window does not sit exactly in the middle of the cupboards either side it, by making the tails longer it helped to disguise this.

I really liked how the dressing to the kitchen window turned out so I made another one for the bathroom window.  Having ran out of the fabric used to cover the chair I used osnaburg instead.


And that is my make do story (plus a few new window dressings).  I would just like to thank Pat of Olde Bittersweet Farm for passing on her knowledge, experience and advice in the art of making make do chairs and also thank you to Janet of Winter Willow Primitives for ordering the fabric on my behalf.

Thanks Ladies, your the best!


Firecracker Kid said...

A-Mazing! I love it all. You did an excellent job. Very appealing o the eye;-)

Traci said...

Oh my, my, my Karen! You did an awesome job on that make-do chair, now you've got me wanting one, LOL! You can guess what I'll be on the look out for..

Your new window dressings look just perfect.

Blessings N Hugs,

Janet - underthewillow said...

Now how did I miss seeing this post nearly a week ago??...well now that I have located it, I wanted to say that the workmanship on your chair is impeccable and the window treatments are stunning!!...I never doubted for one second that your make-do chair would be anything but perfection and I was right!...Pat was so very generous to share her pattern with the world and I am so happy for you my dear to finally have your own!


Wendy said...

Hi Karen,
I almost missed this post too .. lol! Must be summer holiday madness...haha
Soooo impressed with your makedo chair, you are one clever lady :)
And it looks sooo homey in your bedroom,
Glad you're starting to feel better and get your sewing fingers back ;)
Take care my friend
Hugs Wendy x

imsteelefullofscrap said...

Love your make do chair newbie here seen it on pintrest and knew I had to come check out your blog

sandy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cheryl said...

I love your chair....
I saw Pat's tutorial, but never saved anything
I should have saved just the pictures
I have the wood on my chair and some of the batting, now I need to know actually how she made it
Do you have the pictures from Pat's picture trail?

Cheryl said...

I love your chair....
I saw Pat's tutorial, but never saved anything
I should have saved just the pictures
I have the wood on my chair and some of the batting, now I need to know actually how she made it
Do you have the pictures from Pat's picture trail?

peggy said...

This is new to me, I never saw these. What a nice job you did...just happened to see it on pinterest. The bear is sweet too.